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Understanding Cancer -- Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of Cancer?

In its early stages, cancer may have no symptoms, but eventually a malignant tumor will grow large enough to be detected.

As it continues to grow, it may press on nerves and produce pain, penetrate blood vessels and cause bleeding, or interfere with the function of a body organ or system.

Understanding Cancer

Find out more about cancer:

Basics

Symptoms

Diagnosis and Treatment

Prevention

The Seven Warning Signs of Cancer

Look for these early signs of cancer:

  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits
  • Sore that doesn't heal
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge
  • Lumps or thickened areas in the breast, testicles, or elsewhere
  • Indigestion or difficulty swallowing
  • Change in the size, color, shape, or thickness of a wart, mole, or mouth sore
  • Cough or hoarseness that doesn't go away

The following symptoms may also signal some types of cancer:

  • Persistent headaches
  • Unexplained loss of weight or loss of appetite
  • Chronic pain in bones or any other areas of the body
  • Persistent fatigue, nausea, or vomiting
  • Persistent low-grade fever, either constant or intermittent
  • Repeated infection

 

When to Call the Doctor

Make an appointment if your symptoms:

  • Are on the list of signs of cancer
  • Aren't related to another cause
  • Last for more than two weeks

If you do have cancer, the sooner you get a diagnosis -- and start treatment -- the more your chances for recovery improve. 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Sujana Movva, MD on March 17, 2015

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